Chapter 23: Explosives and Surprises

Lynne smiled happily as her mom pulled the car into their family driveway. She was home for Fourth of July weekend and she couldn't wait to see her friends. "So the Fourth is tomorrow, what are we doing?" Lynne asked as she grabbed her laundry bag out of the trunk.

"Well Michelle's family said something about having a small get together at their house." Tina explained as she found the house key.

Lynne nodded her head as she dragged her bag to the door. She remembered the day Michelle texted her out of the blue asking her how college was and how sorry she was that she missed her going away party. At that moment Lynne didn't care about all that, she was just happy she had her friend back. "All right well I'm gonna head over to Taylor's." She told her mom grabbing her car keys.

"That's a record, you stayed here about five minutes." She heard her mom laugh.

"Hey, I haven't seen my friends in a few weeks, you should be surprised I just didn't make you take me over there on the way home." She explained walking out the door.

As she climbed into her car she smiled. "I missed you, I'm sorry I left you." She cooed rubbing her steering wheel.

Taylor was looking at some blogs on Tumblr when she suddenly stopped on one. It was a blog dedicated to their girlfriends of Midnight Carnival. Looking at the 'About Me' it read, 'I think these girls deserve respect so that's what this blog is about. I don't want any hate or negativity. They make the boys happy and that's all that matters to me.' Scrolling through the pages Taylor saw multiple pictures of the her and her friends, even Maddie, from Twitter and Facebook. Some were from the group when they were in Florida. "How did they even get these?" Taylor chuckled.

Taylor decided to follow the blog, anyone that was so kind to her and her friends deserved to be followed. Taylor and Lynne both had a Tumblr account but they weren't sure if the Midnight Carnival fans knew that. Hearing her bedroom door open she saw Lynne walking through with a big smile on her face. "Sunshine!" Taylor exclaimed.

Lynne smiled and hugged her friend. "Hi! I'm so glad to be home, you have no idea." Lynne sighed as they broke apart.

"I bet, let me text Michelle, tell her to come over." Taylor said grabbing her phone off her nightstand. After she sent the text she turned her laptop so Lynne could see it. "Check out this blog I found."

Lynne took a look at some of the pictures. "Wow, Midnight Carnival fans are like the CIA or the FBI or something. They're not saying anything bad are they?"

"No, that's why I like this girl, she just made this for us because we make the boys happy. Speaking of the boys, have you heard from Edward?"

"Come to think of it, no I haven't, I didn't even talk to him last night because I was so busy studying." Lynne muttered pulling out her phone. Scrolling through her messages she didn't have any new or missed texts from her boyfriend. "That's weird, he didn't even text me."

"Yeah, James didn't call or text me either." Taylor murmured. "Well maybe Michelle heard from Jake."

"Ok is there something I missed while I was at school?" Lynne suddenly asked. "I mean, one week Michelle is MIA then the next we're talking like nothing happened."

Taylor bit her bottom lip. "You should just ask her about it when she gets here, she just said she's pulling into the driveway."

Hopping off the bed they ran down the stairs to meet up with their friend as she walked through the front door. "Hey!" Michelle beamed hugging Lynne.

"Hi, ok I'm just gonna say it, what did I miss while I was gone? Obviously something big happened and I'm just the last person to know." Lynne sighed placing a hand on her hip.

Michelle glanced up at Taylor who just nodded her head. Taking a deep breath Michelle looked at Lynne. "I uh...I may of..."

Lynne's eyes widened. She already knew what Michelle was going to say. "You're pregnant?"

Michelle slapped a hand over her friend's mouth. "No! I just had a scare, I took a test and it came out negative so you can breathe now."

Michelle took her hand away so Lynne could talk. "Please tell me you learned a lesson though. I don't think my heart could take another incident like this."

"I did trust me, Taylor even bought me condoms." She chuckled as they walked into the living room.

Thinking she needed to change the subject before her parents walked in Taylor spoke up. "Ok, we need to ask you something, have you talked to Jake recently?" She asked.

Michelle frowned looking down at her phone. "No I haven't, I was expecting him to call me last night but he never did. Why do y'all ask?"

"Cause we haven't heard from our boys." Lynne sighed plopping down on the couch.

Just then Michelle's phone beeped. Hoping it would be Jake she quickly grabbed it. "Its my sister, she said there's going to be a big firework show downtown tomorrow night. Its supposed to be awesome."

"Do y'all want to go?" Taylor asked.

"I don't see why not, want me to see if we can borrow Kaleb's Jeep?" Lynne smiled, her cousin had a Jeep CJ that Lynne had always been dying to drive but had never had a reason to. "We can park somewhere and just watch from the car."

"That sounds like a plan." Michelle agreed with Taylor nodding her head.

"All right I'll call him later tonight. So Michelle we partying at your house beforehand?"

The girls hung out at Taylor's house for a few hours before Lynne and Michelle had to head home. Even though they tried not to dwell on it they were starting to get concerned since none of them had heard from their boyfriends. Checking Twitter they saw nothing new, even Tumblr girls didn't have any updates about the boys. After checking their phones one more time each girl fell asleep feeling a little anxious but hopeful everything was ok.

Michelle woke up that morning with no new messages from Jake and no new tweets. This had been the longest she hadn't heard from him since they started dating. Trudging out of bed she headed towards the kitchen where she saw her mom. "Hey good you're up, I need you to clean the patio for me. We're gonna have hamburgers and hotdogs, and if you want you can get the corn hole game out of the garage." Her mom explained as she wiped down the countertops. "Everyone should be here in about two hours."

"Ok," Michelle muttered walking over to the cabinets to grab a granola bar.

"Ok, what's wrong?" Her mom asked crossing her arms.

"Nothing," Her daughter grumbled. "I'm gonna go find the stupid game then I'll take a shower."

Michelle could feel her mom's eyes watch her as she walked out of the room but at that moment she didn't want to talk about what was on her mind. Opening the garage door she scanned the walls for her family's corn hole game. Almost every summer the girls played the game, none of them were any good but it was fun to play. Finally she found it leaning on the back wall with the beanbags laying right beside it. "Ok please don't let there be a huge spider, please don't let there be a huge spider." She muttered picking up the boards.

Walking out the garage's back door she laid the boards down on the grass in the back yard. When she came back for the bean bags she heard her mom call her name. "What is it?" She asked running into the living room.

"Your boyfriend is on TV."

Michelle turned around to see the boys of Midnight Carnival leaving an airport. Michelle was about to turn up the volume when it switched to another story. "Do you know what airport they were at?" She asked her mom.

"No, I was about to ask you the same thing. It did say they were in the US though." She explained.

Michelle frowned. "Well why hasn't Jake called me?" She whispered walking into her bedroom to check her phone. Nothing. "Now I'm just started to get pissed off."

Lynne wrapped a towel around herself as she hopped out of the shower. Her and her parents were heading over to Michelle's house at two then she had to meet up with her cousin to get his Jeep. After much convincing he reluctantly agreed to let Lynne borrow the Jeep for the night. Walking over to her dresser she pulled out pair of floral shorts that she had been dying to wear for weeks. Deciding her room was too quiet she decided to turn on the radio. Usher's song 'Let It Burn' was finishing up as she ran a comb through her wet hair. Then Midnight Carnival came on making her frown. Looking down at her phone she saw nothing new. "You know if you have a girlfriend you're supposed to call her," She said out loud to her phone.

Slipping on her shorts she walked over to her closet to grab her white camisole with a few ruffles on the front. After she pulled it on she heard Sabrina knocking on her bedroom door. "Auntie!" She yelled.

"Coming, baby," Lynne called pulling her hair up into a bun. Opening the door her niece ran into the room, hopping on her bed.

"Isn't that your baby singing?" Sabrina asked.

"Yeah, it is," Lynne frowned holding out her hands for Sabrina to take "And what have I told you about jumping on my bed?"

"I'm not supposed to," Sabrina frowned.

"That's right, now come on, we gotta get you ready for the party." Lynne smiled picking her niece up, gently tossing her over her shoulder.

Lynne walked down the hallway with Sabrina giggling the whole way. "Hey I found this, thought you might want it." Lynne laughed handing Sabrina to her mom.

"Oh I don't want that," Elyse chuckled. "Bath time for you little miss."

"Aww," Sabrina groaned as Elyse carried her to the bathroom. "Save me, Auntie!"

Lynne held her arms up. "Sorry baby, you gotta bathe sometime!" She giggled as she walked into the kitchen.

"So Kaleb's letting you take his Jeep tonight?" She heard her mom ask as she walked into the room.

"Yep, I just had to promise that I won't wreck, damage, or go through any mud in it." Lynne explained grabbing a bottle of water out of the fridge.

"It should be fun, so how's your boyfriend?" Tina asked.

Shrugging her shoulders Lynne sighed. "I don't know, I haven't talked to him in a few days now. Its really sad, I mean, shouldn't he want to talk to me? He has a girlfriend who lives on the other side of the world, who he barely gets to see so you would think he would take every chance he can to..."

"Lynne, breathe," Tina said placing her hands on her daughter's shoulders. "I'm sure there's a logical explanation as to why he hasn't called you."

Lynne followed her mom's advice and took deep breaths. "You're right, I'm just getting ahead of myself, thanks for the talk mom."

"Now I heard 99.7 is sponsoring the firework show tonight, they're DJ'ing the thing tonight so you'll enjoy live music and explosives."

"Now that's what I call an awesome night!" Lynne laughed.

Taylor walked into her kitchen wearing a red halter top and white star print shorts paired with white Converses. She felt like she had the perfect fourth of July outfit. "Well you look cute," Her mom smiled.

"Thanks, are y'all almost ready? Michelle text me asking where we were."

"Yeah, let me just wrap this up," Her mom sighed grabbing the aluminum foil. "So what are you and your friends doing tonight?"

"Gonna go downtown to watch the fireworks then I guess head back here to go swimming or something."

"Now that Lynne knows how to swim?" Her dad asked as he picked up the egg salad.

"Yeah, now she won't feel left out when we go night swimming," Taylor chuckled moving a strand of blonde hair out of her face.

"That's good, well I guess we're ready, text Michelle and tell her we're on our way." Her mom said as she grabbed another plate.

"Ok...mom what's that?" Taylor asked.

"Its a surprise, now let's go."

Taylor glanced up and her dad who cringed, they both knew their history with cooking 'surprises.' "I wonder what Allen's doing today." Taylor muttered as they climbed into the car.

"He'll probably call here soon, do you know when he'll be coming back to the states?" She heard her mom ask.

"I don't know, hopefully here soon." He whispered as he started the car.

Taylor nodded, she just wanted her brother home. Holidays were harder for her family. It was hard to enjoy them knowing one member for the family was missing. They still tried to have fun but Allen was still in the back of their minds. Having him overseas just made it harder. "I just hope he's safe," She said looking out the window.

Michelle wore a pair of white shorts and a ruffled dark blue spaghetti strap tank top with her usual Converses. "Mom, people are here!" She called pulling her hair up into a ponytail.

"Ok, just let them in!" She heard as she walked over to the front door.

Michelle was greeted by hugs from her family members and some of her parent's friends. She relaxed when she saw Lynne and her parents walking up the driveway. "Hey, happy Fourth of July!" She exclaimed.

"Yeah, how's it going?" Lynne asked as her parents walked inside.

"All right...did you see the boys on TV this morning?"

"No, why? Did something happen?"

"No, I just saw the end of the story but mom told me it said they were in the US."

Lynne furrowed her eyebrows. "If they're in the US then why haven't we heard from them?"

"Your guess is as good as mine, but its starting to piss me off. Why wouldn't they call or text any of us?"

"I don't know but now I'm starting to get pissed," Lynne mumbled. "Lets just try and enjoy today."

Michelle nodded opening the screen door for them to go inside. Taylor and her family arrived soon after. While everyone else was eating the girls decided to play a game of corn hole. Elyse decided to join their game as Lynne's partner with Michelle and Taylor on a team. Turns out none of them were any good. After a few tries they gave up to get something to eat. At seven o'clock Lynne announced they needed to meet up with Kaleb. Tina drove the girls to a Wal-Mart parking lot where Lynne saw her cousin waiting with one of his friends. "Thanks cuz," She smiled as he handed her the keys.

"I'm trusting you, just be careful ok? And take it easy on the brakes." He sighed suddenly regretting this arrangement.

"I promise, come on, you gotta learn to trust me."

"That's gonna take a while, I still remember when you almost backed up over our mailbox."

Lynne blushed. "Ok that was one time and I swear it came out of nowhere." She muttered. "All right girls, in the Jeep!"

Taylor and Michelle shook their heads as they climbed up into the Jeep. Taylor sat in the back while Michelle hopped up into the passenger seat. Lynne waved at her cousin as she started the car and soon they were off. The wind blew their hair as they drove through town. Turning the radio on they tried their best to sing along to Adele's 'Set Fire to the Rain' but failed miserably. "Yeah, we're definitely not singers." Taylor chuckled moving her hair to one side.

"Speaking of singers, ours are apparently in the US right now." Lynne grumbled gripping the steering wheel a little harder.

"Wait what? How do you know?" Taylor asked.

"I saw it on the news today, now I don't know for sure but my mom said it showed up the boys landed in the US today." Michelle explained looking back at her friend.

Taylor shook her head. "That doesn't make any sense, but then again maybe they aren't close so they didn't want to get our hopes up."

"I surely hope so otherwise they're gonna have some pissed of girlfriends." Lynne mumbled pulling to a stop. "Where do we want to park?"

Lynne saw a crowd of people starting to walk down to sidewalk towards town. Pulling the Jeep into a parking lot they saw a huge sign saying '99.7 Radio' on the other side of the water. "Well there's a stage." Lynne mumbled turning the Jeep off.

"Do y'all want to walk over there and see what's going on?" Michelle asked.

"Well we have a while before it'll really get dark so I say lets go." Taylor said hopping out of the back seat.

Lynne and Michelle agreed and climbed out. As they walked down the sidewalk more and more people started gathering around the stage. "Do y'all think someone big is supposed to be here?" Lynne muttered.

She saw her friends shrug as they continued walking. Finally they found a spot to sit close to the stage. It was getting pretty crowded as the girls sat down on the grass. A few people ran around the stage setting up microphone stands and fiddling with the equipment. After a while Michelle noticed a blonde woman talking to a man offstage before walking to a microphone. "Hey, I'm Nicole and I want to know how's everyone's Fourth of July so far?" She asked.

Everyone cheered and clapped their hands in response. The woman smiled. "That's what I like to hear, now we've kept this under wraps for a few weeks now but I have a surprise for all of you." She said looking out of the crowd.

Taylor glanced at her friends on either side of her, they were just as confused as she was. "How many of y'all are Midnight Carnival fans?"

The crowd erupted in cheers and squeals. Nicole laughed. "Wow, then I'm not gonna prolong this anymore. Everyone please give a warm welcome to Midnight Carnival!"

The girls' mouths dropped as they saw their boyfriends walk onto the stage. Each had microphones in hand and big smiles on their faces. They waved to the crowd and gave the blonde a hug. "Nice to see you guys again!"

"Hello!" Edward smiled looking out over the crowd.

"How are you?" James asked.

"I'm quite well, I like your shirt there, Dakota." She chuckled looking at the blonde boy.

Dakota smiled and fixed his American flag T-shirt. "Thanks, thought I needed to look a little festive considering."

The crowd cheered some more as he waved at a few girls in the front row. Jake smiled and pushed him on the shoulder. "Sooo we hear you guys have a surprise for us." Nicole said.

"We do, we do," Lucas smirked.

"Want to let us in on what it is?" She asked.

Edward smiled and looked at the other boys. "Well its kind of a two part surprise." He explained holding up two fingers. "For one thing, we're gonna be here for a while recording our new album." The crowd went insane.

"How did we not know about this?" Lynne exclaimed.

"Two," Jake said. "We brought a little sneak peak of our next single. Its called 'Lightning.'"

"You heard it here first, here's our first little taste of Midnight Carnival's new album." The blonde yelled as an older gentleman hit a button on the stereo.

A fast tempo song started playing over the speakers. Lynne smiled hearing Edward's voice. "You're in control pressing pause on my heartbeat, someone stole all the air so I can't speak. Now I know the chase is on, I feel as though my time has come."

The crowd started dancing along as Lucas' voice came on. "How many times do I fly through your head space? Now its speeding away from a space place. Yeah, your skin, the rush, too much. And here it comes."

The girls smiled hearing all the boys sing the chorus. "When your lips touch mine, its the kiss of life, I know, I know that its a little bit frightening. We might as well be playing with lightning. We touch light like its our first time, oh oh, I know that's a little bit frightening. We might as well be playing with lightning now. Oh oh. Oh oh."

The girls stood up to clap their hands as the music ended. Everyone applauded making the boys grin. "I think they like it." Nicole laughed as she looked out over the crowd.

"We're glad, now I think there's three girls we need to see." James smirked.

"Are they here?" Nicole asked.

Lynne, Taylor, and Michelle looked at each other before making their way to the front of the stage. Edward and Jake saw them first. "There they are!" They exclaimed.

The boys walked over to the edge of the stage to help the girls up. "Hi girls," Nicole grinned as the girls walked over to their boyfriends.

"Hi," They said all together.

"How do y'all feel about your boys being here for a while?"

"I'm all for it," Lynne giggled leaning on Edward.

Taylor and Michelle nodded their heads agreeing with their heads. "Well we have three very cute couples here on stage and I'm sure they want to watch the fireworks together so we'll let them do that. Have a wonderful night everyone!" Nicole said as another song began playing over the speakers.

The boys took the girls' hands as they started walking offstage. Security was waiting for them as they started walking to their own private spot to watch the fireworks. "So are y'all mad?" Jake asked.

"We were, but hearing y'all are going to be here for a while made it better." Michelle grinned wrapping her arms around his waist but then a thought hit her. "Oh no! I'm going to school soon!"

Jake frowned pushing a piece of hair out her face. "Well lets not think about that right now. Lets just enjoy our night."

Michelle sighed before nodding her head. Hearing a loud boom they turned around to see the fireworks start. She felt him pull her close as they looked up into the dark sky. Taylor stood in front of James with his arms wrapped tight around her while Lynne stood in-between Edward and Lucas with Dakota standing close by. They heard the crowd 'ooh' and 'ahh' as the show continued. The girls agreed afterwards it was the best Fourth of July they had ever had.

The song is called 'Lightning' by the Wanted, check it out. And I hope all of you are enjoying the story :)